Dragon Athletics: Sports Retrospective 2017

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Dragon Athletics: Sports Retrospective 2017

Photo collage credit: Grayson McCoy / The Foothill Dragon Press

Photo collage credit: Grayson McCoy / The Foothill Dragon Press

Photo collage credit: Grayson McCoy / The Foothill Dragon Press

Photo collage credit: Grayson McCoy / The Foothill Dragon Press

Kathryn Brandi

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[divider]Fall[/divider]

Many of Foothill’s fall sports teams had a successful year. This year, a total of three teams made it to a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) playoff game or meet and one team won both a CIF and a State Title.

Credit: Abby Sourwine / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Abby Sourwine / The Foothill Dragon Press

 

CROSS COUNTRY

The cross country team set the bar high this fall season scoring League, CIF and State victories. The boys claimed the League Championship with a record of 48 wins and zero losses and also obtained the CIF and California State Champions title, impressively setting the all-time course record for Division IV in the State competition.

Coach Ken Reeves felt that the team had a “fun” and “impressive season.” He believes that the team was able to be successful because the team “ran fast” and “just about everybody that ran, ran well.”

“They got themselves there […] and competed when it was time to compete,” Reeves said.

Reeves believes that it truly was a “team effort” and is “looking forward” to see how the team will compete next season.

“Everybody on the team has an impact on how we do [including] people that aren’t getting the glory, you know, they are out there doing the work and they’re helping everybody get faster,” he said.

GIRLS’ GOLF

Competing as only a second-year program, the girls’ golf team had a competitive season, going undefeated in League with a record of 12 wins and zero losses.

Hannah Hart ’20 finished with an over score of 143 and Paris White ’19 finished with an overall score of 141 in the individual Regional CIF Championships.

Golf is an individual sport, however, the team adds up all of their personal scores to get an overall team score. Because the sport is individual, it can be difficult to see the players personal improvements by simply looking at the outcome of the match. However, in this case, coach Janey Dunn felt that the team’s improvements were shown through the team’s sweep in league competition.

“We definitely played better, as we won our league and went undefeated,” she said.

According to Dunn, the team was able to accomplish much because many of the girls possess “raw talent and athleticism” alongside their ability to get “distance off the tee.” She felt that the team as a whole improved this season, but more specifically, she felt that “all of [the] returning players improved on their stroke averages.”

For Dunn, a highlight of the season was beating two-year defending league champions, La Reina High School. This Foothill win put the team in first place, where the team remained throughout the rest of the season. Dunn’s favorite part about this win was watching the girls “have fun with each other and their game.”

She thinks that the team played with “more confidence and determination” this season and is excited to see what will happen in the years to come.

BOYS’ WATER POLO

The boys’ water polo team faced a challenging season this fall. The team ended with six wins and 21 losses overall and placed fifth in league competition with one win and nine losses.

“As the season progressed, we [began] to play more together as a unit and this freed us up to be more aggressive and creative,” Wallace said.

According to Wallace, the team will continue to improve in the years to come and push towards the team’s goal of placing top three in the Tri-Valley League and competing in CIF.

“We are looking forward to next season and continuing to improve as student athletes and community members,” Wallace said.

GIRLS’ TENNIS

According to girls’ tennis coach, Brad McClain, the team got off to a rough start, losing two close league games that cost the team a “playoff berth.” The team ended the season with an overall record of eight wins and six losses and a league record of two wins and six losses.

McClain felt that the team was in a “very tough” league and “struggled” throughout the season. He believes that many of the girls struggled because they did not play in the off-season.

“I realize the importance and challenge of academics for the student-athlete,” McClain said. “But make no mistake, if you don’t put some time in your sport during the offseason, someone else will. They will pass you by.”

He felt that the girls “began to play well late in the season.” However, he felt that the team’s “opportunities had already passed by.”

Despite the team’s difficulties, McClain felt that the team played “well” this season. He is “encouraged for next season” because there will be six returning players that play in the offseason that he is “excited” to work with.

GIRLS’ VOLLEYBALL

The girls’ volleyball team had another successful season. The team earned an overall record of 13 wins and 13 losses and a League score of eight wins and four losses. The team was able to compete in CIF but fell to Malibu in the first round, losing 1-3, with set scores of 24-26, 25-23, 18-25 and 24-26.

In a past interview after the Malibu defeat, coach Kris Gullatt said that the team played “well” but “didn’t do what [they] needed to do,” explaining that it’s “hard to win games when that occurs.”

Gullatt previously said that the team improved throughout the season and that “the season as a whole was a massive success.”

“We are much closer to being that team than we were in the beginning of the season and so for that reason, it was a very successful few months,” Gullatt said.

 

[divider]Winter[/divider]

With only five sports teams competing in the winter season, Foothill seemingly had fewer chances to make a playoff run compared to other sports seasons. The Dragons, however, had four of their five teams participate in CIF, one of which made the state tournament as well.

Credit: Abby Sourwine / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Abby Sourwine / The Foothill Dragon Press

GIRLS’ SOCCER

The girls’ soccer team had a relatively average season, with an overall record of seven wins and 12 losses, including a three-win and six-loss league record. They did not qualify for CIF Playoffs and seemed to struggle at times. But captain Gabby Pido ‘17 felt that the girls did well, considering they switched into a higher league than the previous year, which gave the girls “tougher competition that we had to face.”

“We did come out with a few wins, and played pretty decent overall,” she said, also adding that the team had a good sense of trust in each other. Pido thinks the team was able to “do well” because of the fact that this year’s crop of freshmen were “really strong girls with good talent.”

“I have faith in these girls,” she said, hoping for the program to make CIF next year and hopefully “make a deep run.”

BOYS’ SOCCER

The team made it to the CIF quarterfinals after winning their first two playoff games but was bumped out by Nuview Bridge High school 1-3. Coach Andreas Wedderien feels the team did not reach their full potential because “the day we will win the CIF final will be the day we reach our potential.” Wedderien said that the team lacked some “basic defensive positioning” and next year will need to focus more on finishing offensive opportunities.

According to Wedderien, next year the team will be “focusing on the individual player development” and “working on team unity.” They will be striving for a league championship and afterward, a CIF championship.

GIRLS’ WATER POLO

The girls’ water polo team had a solid year, but faced tougher competition than in previous years, due to a change in leagues. They still did well in their league, finishing with four wins and two losses, and ten wins and fifteen losses as a team overall. Captain Lezly Plahn ‘17 felt the league change made it “more competitive” and that they “had an amazing season.”

She feels their record isn’t indicative of their skill because “the losses that we had were super tight games.” Plahn said that she has her fingers crossed for the Foothill lottery, because she counts on that as a way to bring good players into their program. “Next year they will come out really strong because we have really amazing players.”

The team also switched divisions for CIF, so even though they lost in the first round, Plahn believes they “did really well, compared to how we did in the past.” This program has had three successful years so far and will look to continue on that culture next season.

BOYS’ BASKETBALL

Boys’ basketball had their first winning season and took advantage of a returning group of boys from the previous season, thriving on chemistry. When it was all said and done, the team had a record of 24 wins and seven losses and won their league (co-champions with Thacher School) with an overall record of eight wins and two losses.

In their first CIF playoff appearance, the team went far, winning three games before losing in the semifinal by five points to Pacifica Christian High School. With this deep run, they earned a bid in the state tournament, where they won their first game on the road, before losing to top-seeded Rolling Hills High School in the quarterfinals. Rolling Hills would go on to win state.

“I thought the team played very well most of the time,” coach Dean Prophet said. “We still had moments of inconsistency and I also thought that players level of play can always be improved.”

Prophet feels that next year’s team will be “totally different” and that in order to be successful, the boys will have to be “more mindful” and better “decision makers.”

“We want to represent Foothill Technology High School with class – showing determination, a never give up attitude and good sportsmanship,” Prophet divulged. “We want to develop positive lifelong habits. We want our team to reach its full potential.”

GIRLS’ BASKETBALL

The girls’ basketball team had yet another winning season, behind the strong core of girls that entered Foothill last year. They had a stellar ten win record in throughout their league competition, where they were champions, and had an overall record of 19 wins and seven losses.

After losing in the first round last year, the girls made a deep playoff run, making it to the semifinals where they lost to Beverly Hills by three. Beverly Hills went on to win the championship match.

“Every player on the team stood out; game by game we had different players step up and make big contributions on either the offensive side or defensive side of the ball,” coach Jason Edgmond said

Edgmond wants his players to be leaders off the court and “continue to grow as a team and to continue to grow as individuals.” On the court, he wants them “to get a little more nasty.”

“I feel we can improve in the area of being more aggressive on both offensive and defense,” he said.

Next year, the team will have most of the players returning, ready to make another run.

“I think this team’s potential is unlimited, I feel we have the opportunity to beat anybody at our level,” he said. “I believe we will be in the mix to win the whole thing again next season.”

 

[divider]Spring[/divider]

TRACK AND FIELD

After a largely successful 2016 campaign, the Dragons’ track-and-field team set the bar even higher this year with impressive marks all around. According to head coach Jason Dinkler, the team “had several athletes that made a significant impact” for the team this season. As a result of this, a total of 22 school records were posted over the course of 2017. 

Credit: Abby Sourwine / The Foothill Dragon Press

Credit: Abby Sourwine / The Foothill Dragon Press

In the regular season, Foothill dominated their league opponents. Both the boys’ junior varsity and varsity teams went undefeated with a 5-0 record. On the girls’ side, the junior varsity team ran the table and finished 6-0, while the varsity team went 5-1. When championship season came around, the Dragons seemed to have not lost any of their momentum; the boys’ varsity, boys’ junior varsity and the girls’ junior varsity were all crowned league champions. The girls’ varsity team settled for second place, falling just shy of a league title by 15 points. They were edged out by Malibu High School with a meet score of 126-111.

In the postseason, the Dragons advanced “approximately 30 athletes to CIF Prelims,” according to Dinkler. From that point, 13 of those athletes qualified for CIF Finals at Cerritos College. However, the impressive season came to an end following CIF Finals, where none of the Foothill athletes qualified for the CIF Master’s Meet.

Click here for a list of Dragons who were selected as All-League, All-County or All-CIF track-and-field athletes.

BOYS’ TENNIS

Led by coach Brad McClain, the boys’ tennis team “secured the first playoff win for boys’ tennis at FTHS.” McClain indicated that there was constant interference regarding the weather, as he described the season as “a rainy one.” Nonetheless, the Dragons’ squad remained solid throughout the course of the season.

In league play, the Dragons posted a 5-1 record, which was good for a first-place finish. Overall, they stood at 7-2 on the season. The team “almost went undefeated,” according to McClain, as the two losses they suffered “were 9-9 ties.”

After emerging victorious in the first round of the CIF Playoffs, the team was “defeated in the second round 13-5 by the eventual CIF champions.” McClain was “very proud of the boys” after their groundbreaking season.

BOYS’ BASEBALL

Under head coach Clint Ellison, the boys’ baseball team took a huge stride forward in 2017. Foothill went 16-7 (9-1 in league play) en route to taking home the program’s first-ever Frontier League championship. The Dragons were virtually impossible to stop over the last few weeks of the season, as they ripped off a seven-game win streak to close out the regular season and headed to the CIF Playoffs with the momentum completely on their side.

Foothill won their first round playoff matchup with a final score of 4-2 against Providence High School. Unfortunately, they suffered a season-ending loss at the hands of Santa Maria High School.

Trey Casswell ‘18 believed that the season was an overall success, saying that “we all improved so much this year and even came closer as a team.”

“I would say [that this season], despite the loss, showed our progress as a team both physically and mentally,” Casswell said.

BOYS’ GOLF

Mark Wipf was happy with the way his team performed this season. Wipf described the factors that he wants to see from his players in order to “represent Tech in a positive way.”

“From my standpoint, the first thing I want from players is a passion for playing the game, which I believe they have. Next, I want them to always be respectful and play with honor and integrity,” he said. “The final factor is not for everyone. They have to want to compete. This runs hand in hand with being focused and making that extra individual effort. Not many players are in that mode yet. That kind of commitment is very elusive.”

Standout players on the team included Aidan Donnelly ‘20, who recorded a 92.0 stroke average. According to Wipf, Donnelly “was our team MVP.” In addition, Mason King ‘19 posted a 93.1 stroke average over the course of the season. Both players were selected to the TVL All-League 2nd Team.

One of the biggest challenges for the team, according to Wipf, was not having the presence of “maturity and experience.”

“Our team is young and we have not had a senior since the 2015 season. Seasoned veterans lead the way for younger players to emulate,” he said. “Because of this, the challenge we had this past season was staying focused and working on things not only at practice, but on their own on weekends and holidays was captured by a few.”

Although Wipf will not be the head coach of the team next year, he remains optimistic about their chances. He believes that “next season will unfold and Tech will be in the mix if players spend the offseason trying to get a little better each day.”

SWIMMING

Led by head coach Jason York, both the boys’ and girls’ swim teams found success over the course of the 2017 season. The Dragon boys secured three league victories, which contributed to their achievement of a 4-2 mark. The girls fared even better, posting an undefeated 7-0 overall record (5-0 league record). The girls’ team also was crowned league champions in 2017, but the boys’ squad was unable to achieve this feat.

When reflecting on the past season, varsity swimmer Evan Wallace ‘20 declared it a “successful” one. He believes that the team does not specialize in one specific area, but instead, they focus on each aspect of the sport.

“Usually we’re not best at one thing, it’s usually like a combination of things,” Wallace explained. “But I would say that our freestyle this year was really good. We also had a really solid medley relay.”

Led by Coach Jason York, the entirety of the swim team looks to duplicate their success in the 2018 campaign.

BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL

The boys’ volleyball team attempted to change their style of play this season by running “a faster offense and [staying] in the system as much as possible,” according to head coach Janine Cobian. For the most part, the philosophy seemed to pay off. The Dragons recorded an impressive 21 overall wins while losing just seven games, and their league record was 12-2.

Over the course of the season, individual performances and contributions propelled Foothill to a successful season. Kyle Cobian ‘18 was second in the nation with 114 service aces while also logging 607 assists. Ian Overton ‘20, the team’s only senior, recorded 309 digs. The depth of the team was made apparent as well, as Chad Talaugon ‘18, Jerod Frederick ‘18, Dylan More ‘18 and Collin Weaver ‘18 combined for a total of 954 kills.

The team did qualify for the CIF playoffs but they had an early exit, losing in the first round. Despite this, Janine Cobian still feels that “the team played great this season.” She is optimistic about what the next season will bring, saying that she feels “like the team should be a contender to win [the] league [title] next year and make a successful CIF run.”

SOFTBALL

One year removed from a league championship and a deep run into the CIF playoffs, the softball team took a step back in 2017. They only managed two wins in league play, opposed to eight losses. Their overall record was slightly better when considering win percentage, as they posted an 8-16 mark.

The season seemed to be subpar to many because of the failure to qualify for the CIF Playoffs. However, the team hopes that the previous season was merely an outlier and that they will return to the previous form.

Although Jamie Dietz ‘19 feels that the team “didn’t achieve our goals and expectations,” she believes the future is bright.

“I think we have very good potential for next year,” Dietz said. “We have a very young team that continues to go and become better.”

The team, built around its young core, will look to take a step forward in 2018 under head coach Priscilla Rouse-Becker. A CIF Playoffs berth is definitely in their sights.

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